Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Rating: 2 out of 5
A practical guide to parenting that starts with the differences that the Gospel makes in the lives of those doing the parenting – most Christian books ignore this aspect.
I decided to read this book as a group of Mum’s from my local church were reading through it together, and in the hope I might make it to one of the mornings, I decided to read along with them. Sadly, I didn’t make it as I was working each week but I still read the book. It is a hard book to review as I haven’t read many parenting books and everyone has different theology, but I will have a go! This review is more personal than for other books because it addresses my love for God, my theology and decisions on parenting we have made in our marriage.
This book is advertised as a practical way of parenting whilst focusing on the Gospel. The first few chapters were full of the good news of Jesus, and it was an encouraging read. But then Farley started to get “practical” and I discovered I disagreed with most of what he said. I disagreed with his parenting style and his theology. Oddly, I seemed to agree with his opening paragraph of each chapter e.g. that the husband is head of the home (he will be the one who will stand before God and give answers about our family and our decisions) but I didn’t agree that wives are secondary when it comes to parenting. I don’t want to get into a theological debate, but God created man and woman differently, with different roles, but one is not more important than the other. I disagreed with a lot of this theology e.g. “Father’s do not provoke your child to anger” – I don’t think this is meant just for Dad’s, but he said it was. In fact, he believes all references to parenting in Scripture are just for fathers – this surely isn’t right. And I also disagreed with how he disciplines. We don’t smack our children in our house, and I don’t think that should be the first go-to when disciplining children. I found this book hard to read – he seemed to be saying that the most important person in the house is the man, that women are secondary but shouldn’t work as that will damage their children and that we need to break our children’s self-will, even though he said that is a gift from God. I left most chapters confused by his thoughts, and then strongly disagreeing with them! Interestingly, speaking to a few friends who have read this book, they also have disagreed with a lot of what Farley says.
I found the writing style hard to follow at times too. He was wordy, and not always clear. Another problem I had, was it felt like a large chunk of the book were statistics or quotes from other parenting books. It didn’t seem like a lot of what he said was based on the Bible.
From this book, I am grateful for the reminder that the Gospel is the centre of everything, and how we parent should reflect that. I want to teach my children about Jesus, and I want to love them and serve them well. This book has helped me to think about parenting, my beliefs and sparked conversations between me and my husband about parenting, which can only be a good thing (even if I did disagree with this book!). I don’t think I would recommend this book, but I am thankful for the way it has helped me consider parenting and how we raise our children. I am rating this book 2 out of 5.